Aside from the recently-released "Dirty Diana" track, which samples Meek Mill's popular "Tupac Back" song, and a video of him looking extremely slender surfacing on the net a few weeks back, Fat Joe has been virtually quiet the last few months.

But now, the Bronx-bred rhyme slinger has come out of hiding, granting XXL an exclusive interview in which he addresses his on-going weight-loss, getting his feelings hurt by former Terror Squad member Remy Ma, his annoyance towards Joell Ortiz's "Big Pun Back" critics and working on new music.—Mariel Concepcion

XXL: What are you currently working on?

Fat Joe: I’m working right now, completing this album. I really been touring a lot, working on this Dark Side 2 CD, which I’m just gonna give out for free — a little mixtape. And, at the same time working on new music and a new album. So, that’s coming out crazy, too. If we aren’t on tour, we’re in the studio banging out music. I try to give the fans a little something here and there. I throw out a little drop of body on them, a little 18 million views — try to keep them going. For artists, the majority of the money we make comes from us being on the road and touring. If I was just stable and staying home all day, I would've dropped ten albums this year. But being that we work so much — we out there making money — we take the good with the bad. But, if anybody's been waiting too long, I'm coming real soon — give them a complete body of work.

What's your label situation these days?

The label situation right now, you know, I’m always Terror Squad. I just go and get me a distributor, and, you know, I put up my own money to shoot videos, my own money to market and promote. Like, the last three albums were with Capitol. The last one was E1. They just put that shit in shelves and I go from there. I love owning my masters. Ownership is everything to me, 'cause, you now, 20 years from now, somebody tries to use that in a movie or [it becomes the] theme song to a TV show, they gotta come give those M's to my kids. So, that’s the most important thing.

What is going on with Terror Squad?

We just make music. We got T.A. from the Bronx, and we got a female R&B singer that me and Rico Love, the writer, both work with. Her name is Cherlise [and she's] out of Miami. She’s phenomenal! Her album is coming out this year or next year. Her first single has Lil Wayne. She’s signed to [Rico Love's] Division 1 [label].

We're just working, to be honest with you. I never been a person to sign an artist for the moment,[no] "Stanky Leg" or something like that — a novelty artist. When I introduce you to somebody, his name is Big Pun. When I introduce you to somebody, his name is DJ Khaled. When I introduce you to an artist, her name is Remy Ma. If I introduce you to somebody, it’s Cool and Dre or Scott Storch —people who change the face of the game. I can’t just jump from artist to artist, have 40 artists that I don’t believe could actually have the capability of taking it to that next level.

Speaking of, I know you and Remy Ma had a falling out at some point. What's the state of your relationship with her at this point?

I don’t keep in contact with Remy. Me and Remy, we fell out. All I did for that girl was help her; make her rich; took her from the projects; single parent mom; put her on hit records; toured across the world with us. She was down with us, had a different car for every day of the week. When her album came out and it didn’t do as good as she anticipated, she wanted to blame somebody. See, me, I don’t run away. During my successes or my failures, I put it on me. You can't find an interview where I'm standing there talking about, 'Yo, this executive…' some people don’t understand it’s not an overnight success for everybody. It’s a grind. It’s happened for me. I make a great living — a lot of artists make a great living.  But, she, you know, she was getting real disrespectful with me and real disrespectful towards my family on the radio. I could never forgive Remy Martin. She really hurt my feelings.

Has it changed your perception on wanting to help others succeed in this game?

If you had the power, you know, you say no and people say no. But, there are  lot of people that are in power to help people that never help people. And [now] I know why. Even though I ain't let nobody change my heart and the way I am, but I know why now. With me, I been given an opportunity to open up platforms for people. I believe you should do a study on how many rappers actually make it successful, and I bet you’ll see one out of every 30 million niggas trying to rap that make it successful to where they got a dollar or something. So, when I'm in that position to give someone a hand — they come from the projects, they come from an ill background. Shorty is talented. She by far , still till today, I think, is the best female rapper in the game. When you take somebody, put your effort, your time, all your resources, your contacts, everything and then they get on the radio and say, 'You ain't shit, fuck you, fuck your mother,' and you made these people rich? It kinda hurts.

So, that’s where I’m at with that. My position really doesn’t change on her. Do I wish anybody jail? No way. Jail is hell. I don’t wish nobody jail. Please come home Remy Martin. But me being her friend and all that? I don’t know how many people want me to be a fucking lyrical punching bag for former friends and all that, niggas that go bitter, and they expect me to be a teddy bear and embrace everybody and just be like, 'Oh, I forgive you.' Nah, fuck that. I help people, and then you know, them niggas go bad on niggas, and then niggas look at me like, 'Joe, you’re a bigger guy. You need to give them a hug.' Fuck out of here! I’m tired of giving hugs.

FOR MORE FAT JOE, GO TO PAGE 2

On a lighter note -- let's talk about your weight loss. You look amazing!

Thank you. What happened was like seven of my friends passed away last year [and they] all died of heart attacks. They were all like my size and even younger than me. So, I was at my friend’s funeral and I seen his daughter. His daughter is my daughter’s age and I was just sitting there like, 'Fuck that. This cant be me. I gotta get healthy.' And, I ain't do nothing nobody tells you to do. You just gotta want to do it — you gotta feel like it’s life or death and go to war with the food.

What's your diet like?

So like, with me, I just really eat carbs in the morning — bread with turkey bacon and fucking egg whites — and then the rest of my meals I don’t eat carbs. That’s good. I work out everyday, I work out like a mutherfucka. I’m sore now.

What do you do at the gym?

Everything. I do cardio. [I] start off half an hour cardio, then we start lifting all types of weights, then we go back and finish it off with half an hour of cardio. Like, this right here, this shit you see Fat Joe? This ain’t even nothing. This is just the beginning. Everybody looking at me like, 'Oh shit, Joe, you look great.' But, they not even realizing, this isn’t it. We half way there.

Ultimately, what's your goal?

All I wanna do is inspire people and let them know, you know Fat Joe your whole life, and he’s been fat your whole life. And if he can exercise and eat the right shit and lose weight, you can do it, too. I'm not special. I’m not no superhero. I’m not super human. I’m just a regular nigga just showing you that if you really wanna get healthy, you can eat the right shit and work out.

Recently, rapper Joell Ortiz got some backlash for his"Big Pun Back" track. What are your thoughts on the song?

I thought it was incredible. I thought it was great. I never seen a guy in my fucking life get backlash for fucking biggin' up somebody. See, what happened is Big Pun was surrounded by an enormous amounts of idiots. And, sad to say, as big of a genius he was, and beautiful as he was, and I’m not just saying that cause he dead, cause he was the most loyal, beautiful person... He’s my brother. I worship him to death... But, it’s unfortunate he was surrounded by a bunch of fucking idiots. Nincompoops. You got a younger Spanish dude who’s hot in the streets and he wants to honor Big Pun and you throw slander at him and you disrespect him for fucking only honoring Pun? How do expect anybody else to honor Big Pun?! Or talk about him in a good way?!

This is the shit, I hope people can open their eyes and see the shit that Fat Joe has been dealing with for the last 12 years. It’s fucking idiotic. It’s fucking lunacy at it’s finest. 'I don’t think you should’ve bigged up Pun.' Like, what the fuck are you talking about? He’s honoring Big Pun, showing respect to Big Pun. What’s the problem? We can’t do that? We’re honoring the one fucking Spanish nigga that wants to step up and say, 'Guess what? Man, I love Big Pun. Big Pun’s Back.' Like, where’st he disrespect? I never seen shit like this in my life. Amazing, man. I think I got more upset than Joell Ortiz did, but I know the type of people he’s dealing with. You gotta understand I been dealing with some real fucking shady niggas, man. Everybody look at me like, 'I think Joe is fucked up.' But, people don’t understand the type of shit I had to deal with with these people. Like, just think about it. The nigga bigged up Big Pun. He’s getting hot, he’s doing his freestyles, he’s a member of a dope new group, he’s Puerto Rican, he wants to big up his idol. And you attack him? 'Yo, don’t big him up.' What kinda shit is that? Like, I’m trying to figure out who thought they were right.

I'm sure you heard about the video with Cuban Link, Peedi Crakk and Tony Sunshine speaking about their displeasure with the track...

Nah, I didn’t see the video cause I really don’t tune in to these niggas. Like, who are these niggas? To be honest with you, they aren’t even relevant. I just hear the gossip niggas tell me, like this nigga said.. I was like, what? There you go. That’s why niggas can’t do the tribute to Pun, all proceeds to his kids. Niggas cant do the VH1 Honors, cause these niggas are straight scums of the Earth. Straight scumbags. Like I said, Big Pun, as beautiful as he was, as an angel of a guy, cause he’s an angel.. Big Pun would take a crackhead off the streets and give him chicken at his house and rice and beans in one second. He was a great dude and a great father. But, it’s sad that he was surrounded by so many fucking bad people. For real, it’s crazy.